Let's start at the very beginning, I heard that's a very good place to start. 😉
If you're not familiar with Sumblox they are wooden building blocks shaped like the digits 1-10 that are directly proportional to the digit they represent. For example if you stack a 2 + 3 on top of each other they are the same height as the 5 block. They are a wonderful open-ended numeracy resource so children can explore in their own way and at their own pace.
They are beautifully-crafted made from high-quality hardwood with a glossy (Original) or matte (Mini) finish.
Sumblox can just be stacked and used as an open-ended building material by younger children. Then as they grow children can move on to basic digit recognition, comparing smaller and larger numbers and lining them up in order to build a better understanding of value. As children progress Sumblox are perfect for learning addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. As well as really cementing their "Friends of Ten" concepts and having solid foundational number sense.
Mini Sumblox vs Original Sumblox
Besides the obvious size difference (the Mini Sumblox are 50% of the size of the Original Sumblox) the main difference between the two sets are that the Minis are uncoated so are a soft, grippy texture and the Originals are lightly lacquered which makes them smooth and shiny.
I find the number differences a little easier to estimate on the Original Sumblox, which is nice. And they're a substantial size, nice and chunky to build with for your younger children.
The Minis obviously take less room to store which is a great bonus. They also come in a beautiful wooden box which is great for storage and travel.
Another thing to note is that the Mini range corresponds to the metric dimensions - the 1 block is 1cm, the 2 block is 2cm, etc. So that can make for some fabulous incorporation of measuring in to your play. Their size also makes them ideal for tabletop learning and play-based support for math homework.
The Mini Sumblox sets come with great activity cards that include a range of activities including silhouettes to recreate, animal builds to make and patterns to reproduce. All fantastic activities for building fine motor and numeracy skills.
Game suggestions for Sumblox
- Place the 10 next to a single number and get them to work out which number they need to equal 10.
- Put out a plank (a piece of the building board set or something similar would be great) and get your child to find number that equal each other by balancing the board on top and seeing if it's flat.
- Set out a single number - like 5 and see how many different ways they can make 5.
- Set out your 10 and tell them they have to use X amount of numbers to make 10.
- For multiplication - Give them a number and see how many times she could make the number using a tower of only the same digit block. For instance 6 can be make with 2 x 3 blocks or 3 x 2 blocks.
- Get your child to line them all up in the ascending or descending order
- Line them up without your child but take a couple out so they have to work out where they go.
- Imaginative building! it doesn't all have to be math, these uniquely shaped blocks can be used to build animals or houses. (The Mini Sumblox set actually comes with activity cards to spark some ideas but you can also just build from your and your child's imaginations)
- Trace some of the Sumblox on a piece of paper and create a "DIY shadow puzzle".
- Pair Sumblox with some loose parts and have children put out the correct amount of loose parts for each number block.
Photo by @playwiththeotters
Here's a quick video comparison as well!
All pictures and videos were taken by Lisa from @life.with.moon.and.co for Little Toy Tribe.